Governor Ron DeSantis has signed six bills that will support nearly 1.5 million active and former military personnel and their families living in Florida, he said during a press conference in Fort Walton Beach on June 9.
“Florida is the most military-friendly state in the nation, and I am proud to continue that commitment to our military members and their families by signing these pieces of legislation,” DeSantis said. “Providing military families with the resources they need to receive a high-quality education and find good jobs is the best way that we as a state can show our appreciation for the sacrifices that they make.”
The six bills were signed on June 9 in Fort Walton Beach home of Eglin Air Force Base.
The new initiatives will be available to Florida residents who are active and retired military. HB 45 will provide disabled veterans an access to 100% tuition and education.
A provision was made for children of military families through SB 430 with assistance available for children transferred to other schools when their families are relocated.
With SB 896, veterans will have the opportunity to apply their past service experience to become certified to work as teachers.
Florida Adjutant General Major General Jim Eifert stood with the governor and stated that the bills were needed and that he was thankful that the governor and legislature recognized these needs for veterans and their families.
“These bills will go a long way to help our citizen soldiers and their spouses have opportunities for meaningful employment,” Eifert said, as reported.
“Solid career opportunities lead to a well-rounded and ready force, and a stable home environment prepares our guardsmen and their families for deployments, to include disaster response.”
Nate Vannater, the owner of Props Brewery and Grill, was present at the press conference and recalled that he enlisted in the Air Force at 18 and used the “GI Bill and an ROTC scholarship to get a commission.”
“Ten years after that commission, my partners and I used a VA/SBA loan to start our business right here in Fort Walton Beach,” he told the crowd.
“I thank the governor for his support of these veterans’ bills. As these men and women depart the armed forces and go into the next phase of their life, these bills are really going to mean something.”
The remaining three bills, SB 514, SB 562, and SB 438, would update the state’s definition of “uniformed service” to cover the newest branch of the military, the US Space Force.
This will allow individuals who serve in this branch to have equal access to the same opportunities and benefits as other members of the armed forces.
In May, the Governor introduced the “Hometown Heroes’ Program” launched on June 1, allocating $100 million to help veterans and active military members purchase their first home in Florida. The funds will be used to help with down payments.
Other Floridians, including law enforcement officers, firefighters, educators, health care professionals, and child care workers, are also eligible.
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